Anyone not familiar with dry ice or how it looks would have seen its use, one way or another. The most popular use of dry ice is for fog effects during weddings and Halloween. There are other less popular uses of dry ice but it can be agreed it is one cool discovery.
Dry ice is made with a machine commonly referred to as a dry ice machine. These machines are made in different shapes and sizes for industrial and home use.
What is dry ice?
Dry ice is basically carbon dioxide in its solid form. Carbon dioxide is popularly known in its gaseous form as the gas we exhale when we breathe. As you know, its natural state is odorless and has no color. While we effortlessly produce and exhale the gaseous form, its solid form is created with a dry ice machine.
It is called dry ice because it has no liquid form. Unlike other liquids like water that melt into a liquid state from ice, dry ice (carbon dioxide) changes from its solid state into gas.
How can dry ice be handled?
While water freezes at 0°C, dry ice registers and is frozen at negative 79°C. If not properly handled, it can cause severe frostbite on the skin. It's best to handle it with insulated gloves or thick towels.
It should be stored in a well insulated container or it'll disappear. This is why dry ice fog machines are a popular option to produce and store them for Halloweens and weddings.
Can dry ice be used to preserve food?
Yes, it can. It is one of the other uses of dry ice. It can be kept in a cooler with drinks and taken to summer beach parties. When there's power failure or a broken fridge, dry ice can also be used to preserve food.
It may not work well with conventional fridges since it has a lower temperature than what the fridge thermostat can handle. However, if the fridge can accommodate double digit negative temperature degrees, then you can place it in and shut the door. Like with drinks, you can also place food in a properly insulated container with dry ice. It's more than capable of preserving the food.
How is dry ice fog made?
When dry ice comes in contact with water, it begins to turn back into gaseous carbon dioxide. The process is sublimation. Sublimation is a process where solid state material turns into gas.
For thicker fog, like the one seen during weddings or to create a frightening effect during Halloween, hot water is added to dry ice. In other words, the hotter the water added to dry ice, the thicker the fog would be. Room temperature water would only create a thin fog effect.
A dry ice machine designed to produce fog comes equipped with all necessary safety to ensure there's no splashes from the mixture. If you're using a makeshift fog maker, ensure the container is deep enough and then place a tarp underneath to collect any little splash from the mixture.
Dry ice is one of the coolest things on Earth. It can be used for different purposes, most popularly to create fog effects during Halloween and weddings. If handled properly, it can also be used as a food preservative. Just remember, when handling dry ice use insulated gloves or thick towels to avoid frostbite and store them in an insulated container to prevent sublimation.